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Old 07-29-2003, 02:25 PM   #1
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DIY Sump question..

Hopefully a simple question. I am in the process of making a sump out of a 10 gal aquarium for my 55 gal reef aquarium. The tank has an overflow built in to it. The sump will be divided in to three compartments. Compartment one will contain the protein skimmer and receive the return water. The second compartment will be the “main sump area” that I can later make in to a refugium. The last and final compartment will house the return pump. I need to locate the two baffles within the cavity of the sump and wanted some opinions/criticisms of my idea. I have two components for the sump; my Sea Clone 100 Protein skimmer and my Mag Drive 7 return pump. Now remember here I am a newbie.
I realize that I must allow for two major scenarios. One, the overflow or return getting clogged , which to me means that I must isolate the return pump with a baffle/separator so that the volume of this compartment will not overflow the main tank. The second scenario is if power shuts off or pump fails the volume in the return line must not overflow the sump.
Now the first compartment will receive the “dirty” water from the main tank but the protein skimmer output flow is of course less than the return from the tank so if I simply place the return line in this compartment there will be remixing of “clean” and “dirty” water (clean from the simmer and dirty from the tank). Not really efficient. Additionally there will be an excess of water that will spill over to the second compartment. Is this normal and expected. So in all this confusion I guess my “simple” question is how should I place the baffles in height relative to one another ? Should there be some holes drilled in the first baffle to allow for the excess flow? Am I missing something?

Please help me out

TIA
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Old 07-29-2003, 04:18 PM   #2
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First off if possible I would use something larger than a 10 gal tank. Maybe a 20 gal LONG or a 20 HIGH. Or even a clear rubbermaid tub thats like 15-30 gal in size.

The reason is a 10 gal wont give you much room let alone to have it split into three sections.

Trying to keep only 'dirty' water in the first compartment is going to be next to impossible unless you get a HUGE skimmer for your tank that can process the water as fast as its comming down from the tank. So having the 'dirty' and 'clean' water mix is almost inevetable at some point. You could have your skimmer output on the second compartment but water is still gonna come over the baffle into the second compartment.

Getting a 1 way flap valve and installing it on your return line will put a physical stop on the water if the pump stops. The theory is the flap will remain open when flow is going thru but when flow stops the flap will close and the pressure of the water above it will keep a water tight seal around the flap keeping the bulk of the water from back filling. You said the tank has built in overflows. Does it have built in return lines aswell? If not then what I like to do is drill a few small 1/16th inch holes just below the water line on my return plumbing. If/when the pump loses power water will syphon down the return lines till air can be sucked into those small holes. Air will break the back syphon and keep the sump from taking on a ton of water.

My sump is a very simple single chamber 30 gal tank. Water enters on the left side and my pump is connected to the right side. I have some large coral chunks in the sump for extra filtration. My heaters are also in there and if I had a skimmer it would be in there aswell.
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Old 07-29-2003, 05:11 PM   #3
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Thanks, great advice. Yeah I would like to get a larger sump but I have one of those corner tanks that has limited space underneath. The 10 gal as it is barely fits in . Where can I get one of these flap valves?

I installed the return and supply stand pipe through the overflow box . If that is what you are referring to.

But getting to the question at hand do I make both partitions/baffles at the same hight as each other?
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Old 07-29-2003, 05:18 PM   #4
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www.marinedepot.com look under the plumbing sections for check valves.

Sure you can make them the same height. just make sure they are a few inches below the top of the tank.
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